A retail team from the real estate brokerage Newmark Knight Frank has jumped to rival Jones Lang LaSalle The Commercial Observer has learned.
Davie Berke and Paul Berkman, two brokers who have handled several prominent deals, including last summer’s high profile relocation of the NBA store from 666 Fifth Avenue to 590 Fifth Avenue, joined the company in recent days.
Mr. Berke, reached by telephone at JLL, said he couldn’t comment on the move.
“I’ve been asked not to comment,” Mr. Berke told The Commercial Observer.
Mr. Berkman, according to a telephone operator at JLL, was listed in the company’s phone directory but didn’t yet have an extension and couldn’t be reached by press time.
The pair’s departure follows that of Amira Yunis, another former top retail broker at NKF who left the firm late last year for CBRE.
Though it’s not clear why Mr. Berke, Mr. Berkman or Ms. Yunis made moves, changes have been afoot at NKF. Last year the company was acquired by the Wall Street firm BGC, which just completed an acquisition of Grubb & Ellis and plans to integrate the two real estate brokerages.
The hire finally gives JLL an NYC retail brokerage arm, what had been one of the few holes for the large real estate services company. In recent years, JLL and the company’s New York area president Peter Riguardi have bulked up the company’s New York presence, adding prominent investment sales brokers and also leasing dealmakers.
“This is definitely a strategic move for us,” Peter Riguardi told The Commercial Observer. “It’s been on our list to do and it took us time but we’re excited to have Davie and Paul and their team on board. They’re getting us into the retail leasing business and like everything else we’ve done in the last few years, I expect them to help us emerge as a leader in this area of brokerage as well.”